Pre-made manhattans for Burning Man

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Brady Forrest says: "Some friends of mine and I bagged premade 80 manhattans. Each is in its own vacuum sealed bag with a dried cherry. Those are going to be mighty good in the desert. I got the idea from this Ignite talk."


  1. Neat idea.  As always, I am tremendously amused by the sheer amount of trash generated by burning man participants, given that one of the key tenets is “leave no trace.”  (While it’s true that the event location itself is kept clean, all that trash has to go SOMEWHERE…)

    1. The vacuum bags _can_ be reused if one is thoughtful enough (or something) to save it for later. Just cut off the top part, rinse/clean the bag and use it again. It looses maybe 2 cm with each cut but it is a nice way to economize.   

    2. “leave no trace” has nothing to do with any sort of ecological message. It’s just about making it easier to do it again next year.

      Noise pollution and air pollution don’t exist at Black Rock. Only litter has any sort of meaning in playa time.

    3. My impression is that most burners interpret LNT as applying specifically to the event venue. They seem to think that as long as you pack your trash out, you’re living up to the principle. Perhaps the letter, but not the spirit.

    4. Ditto on that. This is a BADDD idea as it involved aprox. 500% more resources and material than just bringing the ingredients and mixing it on-Playa. I am one of the volunteers that builds the city and then cleans up after the event. If I find one of those packages laying in the dirt, I know where to mail it to. Our addiction to non reusable plastic is one of this species most fucked up behaviors. 

      1. Our addiction to non reusable plastic is one of this species most fucked up behaviors.

        Seems to me that 50,000 people travelling from all over the globe to a desert in the middle of nowhere, consuming a tanker full of gas in the process, also constitutes “one of our species most fucked up behaviors”… I’m not complaining about it, I fully intended to be one of those 50,000, but puhlease on the self-righteousness. Are you going to be similarly condemning all the necklaces and whatnot that people will be giving out on the playa, most of which aren’t even handmade as these drink pouches are?

  2. Riiight, dehydrating yourself with alcohol in the desert is a wonderful idea.

    Not that it would stop me, either.

    1.  What’s an 80 manhattan?


      In metric, it’s approximately one decihangover

      edit: deca – not deci!

  3. i can hear jerry thomas weeping in his grave! the greener, more joy-producing thing to do would be to make them fresh, on site.

    1. I would be too. But is it truly advisable to be drinking alcohol when you’re in command of a multi-million dollar space module?

      1. Because we’re Americans Goddammit! And we’ll do it how we damned well please and show them Commies whatfor.

        …that and tang sucks.

  4. What a waste of plastic. They could have just filled up something like this;

  5. What have I done to deserve this flat, flavorless Manhattan?

    (these manhattans may actually turn out to be awesome – just couldn’t resist the Simpson’s quote)

  6. how bout a car bomb… a packet of harder stuff inside the packet of other stuff…  smash the little one, then poke open the big one and squeeze it all down your throat

  7. Mixed drinks need to be mixed on the spot. This is like prepackaging a salad with the dressing already in it.. ewww.  Not to mention, I can’t think of a better example of overpackaging.

    1. Shaken not stirred.  Stirred, shaken, poured…  It all ends up in the same place. :) 

      Now pre-made salad with dressing on it-NEVER!

    2. “Mixed drinks need to be mixed on the spot.”

      How do you come to that conclusion?  There’s no reaction taking place, just a physical mingling of ingredients.

      1. There is most certainly a reaction taking place. That’s why they keep the ingredients separate. Alcohol breaks down other ingredients pretty quickly, which is why you have to keep other stuff separate until it’s made. Ever had one of those disgusting pre-made Screwdrivers? I don’t recommend it.

        1. True, but everything in a Manhattan is full of booze to begin with (unlike fresh o.j.).  A few bars have begun casking some cocktails.

  8. Our camp will be making fresh Margaritas, Mojitos, and our specialty drink, the Josito.   Our LNT goddess would poop pellets if she saw someone start pulling these out!


    1. “So how did you manage to get the foodsaver to seal liquids?”

      The same way you would vacuum seal a really juicy steak, you freeze it first.  Though that could get harder with higher alcohol content drinks.

      1. Why the hell would you do something that horrible to a perfectly good steak?! You don’t deserve that steak.

        1. Because I already cooked and ate one wonderful steak from the family pack of four and I want to save the rest for later so they don’t go to waste.  

          You partially freeze raw meat to vacuum seal it.  I would never freeze a cooked steak.  I should have been more clear.

  9. Let’s see, to make 80 fresh manhattans would take 160 oz or 6 bottles of rye, 40 oz or 2 bottles of vermouth, a bottle of bitters, and a jar of cherries.  Not sure what my point is beyond doing the math, 10 bottles doesn’t seem like THAT much to carry.

    1. The last bit of road from the highway to the playa is pretty darn bouncy, even at 5 mph. I wouldn’t recommend breakables.

      1. Jesus, it’s not even close to being bumpy enough to break a bottle of whiskey. I see how these have convenience but i’d much rather have someone hand me  bottle of Jameson or better out there.

  10. The whole point of Burning Man is to be as far out creative and fun as possible. Having Manhattans in sealed pouches that you can bust out on the spot anywhere on the Playa and share with new friends seems very wonderful indeed. I don’t even drink but I can appreciate how fun it would be to carry one or two of these everywhere I wander.

    Ignore the MOOP-mockers. We all know you’ll hang onto your plastic bags and carry them back out with you…

    1. Completely agreed. Is it possible that none of the other commenters have been to Burning Man? Or do they just turn into self-righteous pedants the rest of the year? This strikes me as a super fun, creative experiment, beautifully executed, and not any more excessive packaging-wise than the many energy bars and what not that people routinely bring camping. And plus its frickin hilarious.

      Reminds me of the “sack of mac” a friend used to make: make a bunch of good mac & cheese, put it in zip lock bags, eat when you’re hungry enough for it to taste amazing.

  11. Like the other commenters…. I can’t figure out why this is a better idea than bringing a few bottles and mixing drinks in reusable cups. MOOP fodder.

  12. I just use a 2 liter hydration pack for my mixed drinks.

    My favorite B-man moment was cold white and black Russians flowing from each breast’s hydration pack nipple from a sculpture in the deep playa.

  13. I just mix up my cock-tales in 2 liter hydration packs.  My favorite B-man moment was finding this sculpture in deep playa.  Each nipple had cold cock-tales either white or black russians.

  14. Freezing liquids in seal-a-meal is easy.  Radioactive samples were sealed in them for years in labs.
    The process is the same as putting marinade in zip-locks: close bag
    held mostly upright. Is made easier if you either squeeze a tiny drop out, or
    leave a tiny amount of air in. 
    The sealer clamps shut at any angle. 

    As much as this seems overkill, I’d imagine these were made to carried on one’s person while biking, climbing, grooving all day, handy to share.

  15. I sympathize with the MOOP-haters, but this does have one advantage over fresh-mixed. You can easily carry them with you to share with random strangers that you meet on the playa. That’s the best sort of playa-gift.

  16. Cool idea for camp cocktails.  I had a similar idea (mass ready-made cocktails) and bought one of the big vacuum-flask coffee dispensers at goodwill for $7.  Holds about 50 cocktails.

  17. If I am careful, by sometime in the 2040s, I will be the only person not to go to Burning Man.

    1. It will never get that big unless Homeland will help.

      They had to limit the Population of Burning Man to 50,000 this year because they ran out of Law Enforcement Officers.

  18. I’m the Brady who made the cocktails. Gift giving is a part of Burning Man. My favorites to give (and receive) are little creature comforts: a cold beer, homemade jerky. I generally dislike the camp shwag that has become so common. I always appreciate something that is made by the person. After hearing Phil’s Ignite talk I realized that I could share mixed drinks quite easily. I expect that some people will drink them when they get them, but the majority will take them back to camp and ice them for later enjoyment. This would not be possible with a cooler. 

    I trust that the Burners will be responsible for their trash and not MOOP. My friends and I will gladly handle the bags. If you want a cocktail, I’ll be camped with the Shame Project

  19. This has got to be breaking a large number of Korpo/Fascist IP and packaging laws. 

    Plus, how do you know you the ingredients don’t have a dose included as well.

    Burning Man – Woodstock minus good music for today’s desperate to be hip Trust Fund Kids.

    1. Burning Man – Woodstock minus good music for today’s desperate to be hip Trust Fund Kids.

      I bet the grumpy old bastards said the same thing about Woodstock in 1969.

      And that trust fund sure would come in handy right now, as I’m up working yet again at 4am so I can afford to go to Burning Man…

      And I’m totally not sure what to make of this statement you put in your Twitter feed (which is a real ray of sunshine by the way): “I am a closet TFK (trust fund kid) struggling to ‘come out’. to no longer be ashamed of my elite status and tired of posing as an impoverished bohemian.” Working out some issues are we?

  20. I think this is pretty neat, I would be totally stoked to get a Manhattan in a bag on the playa this year!  Moop schmoop, an empty plastic bag is easy to stick in your bag and pack out with the rest of your trash, way better than a plastic cup.  Although, everyone should be carrying their own reusable cup.  

  21. this will be my 15th burn. i’m not a jaded old timer, a hipster wannabe, or a trust funded person, thank you very much. i DEFINITELY appreciate the creativity and thought behind this idea, i just prefer to make drinks for people in person, on the playa, and i worry that the bags will become moop, that’s all. oh, and Farley? get bent — i’ve heard music at burning man that is JUST AS GOOD as the stuff at woodstock in ’69. it may not be your cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good.

  22. Plastics get recycled more than glass does. Not that we should be using either. Every product should be wrapped in a coconut shell, grass based plastics, ceramics etc. At least foodsavr bags are quasi re-usable. You should really just roll your oak cask of whiskey out there and then take it home with you for further use.

  23. So, that was pretty simple, just use the machine to seal the bag without vacuum as though you are making a bag from the roll.  That was pretty easy and I suppose why there is significant headspace in the photos.  I don’t know why I thought I HAD to use the vacuum.  Silly me.

  24. Non-Burners: MOOP = Matter Out Of Place, ie anything other than Playa dust that’s found on the Playa.

    The Leave No Trace ethic doesn’t mean Burning Man is a minimalist event. It simply means you are responsible for taking out everything you bring in — every last scrap of paper, plastic, wood, metal and other atom of stuff. The Leave No Trace ethic does encourage Burners to think carefully about their use of resources but it does not require people to avoid plastic bags, food wrappers or anything else. Condemning someone for pre-packaging Manhattans because they use 80 plastic bags is silly and contrary to the spirit of Burning Man.

    This isn’t Everest Base Camp, where you pack light or risk death. It’s a vast celebration of creativity and community.

    Commenters who assume Burning Man is an environmentally minimalist event fundamentally misunderstand its nature. Temporary art cities are inherently resource-intensive, unusually so. That’s what makes the whole environment so unpredictable, indescribable, psychedelic and wonderful.

  25. PeaceLove, well put.  For everyone else still bitching about the MOOP potential, come by the Dusty Swan Irish Pub at 4:30 and Divorce for a beer, out of a keg.  I’ll be bartending Tuesday night from 12-2.  But you damn well better bring your own cup!    

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